Chesterfield men lined up to enroll in the armed services at Chesterfield registration points on Feb. 16, 1942 in anticipation of a gigantic draft lottery that would be held a month later. Men of ages 21 to 45 wanted to chose the branch of service in which they would serve after the United States had been drawn into World War II in the wake of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The call for troops was so heavy by the summer of 1942 that draft offices in the county stayed open on July 4. By December, even teenagers were included in the draft.
At the same time, the Chesterfield clerk’s office was swamped with applications for marriage licenses and county residents began dealing with how to handle ration coupons. According to Chesterfield: An Old Virginia County, tires, automobiles and, finally, gasoline were among the earliest items to be rationed. Before the end of the year butter, sugar, beef, cheap clothes, leather goods, kitchen untentils, paper and other commodities joined the list.
Car pooling became a necessity for those working at Dupont and the Bellwood Depot, now Defense Supply Center Richmond (DSCR) and other large employers in the county. The companies formed clubs to help solve the transportaion crisis. And, getting to work took longer with the maximum war-time speed limit posted at 35 miles an hour. This week was the beginning of the war for many in Chesterfield.